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Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'

DigiTrad:
JAY GOULD'S DAUGHTER
MILWAUKEE BLUES
THE ROCK ISLAND LINE (is a mighty fine line)


Related thread:
DTStudy: Jay Gould's Daughter (50)


10Thumbs 29 Sep 00 - 11:24 PM
GUEST,Furry 29 Sep 00 - 11:38 PM
GUEST 29 Mar 10 - 05:56 PM
DonMeixner 29 Mar 10 - 06:03 PM
Mark Ross 29 Mar 10 - 07:25 PM
Bobert 29 Mar 10 - 07:28 PM
Charley Noble 29 Mar 10 - 09:22 PM
Artful Codger 29 Mar 10 - 10:27 PM
Charley Noble 30 Mar 10 - 08:54 AM
Amos 30 Mar 10 - 09:39 AM
Charley Noble 31 Mar 10 - 08:31 AM
Jim Dixon 01 Apr 10 - 03:45 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Apr 10 - 03:57 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Apr 10 - 04:05 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Apr 10 - 04:21 PM
Charley Noble 01 Apr 10 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,Mike Alti 12 Mar 11 - 11:39 PM
GUEST,JimP 26 Apr 11 - 12:54 AM
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Subject: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: 10Thumbs
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 11:24 PM

In "Walkin' Blues" (as recorded by Clapton and others) is the line: "I woke up this morning, had to go ride the blind" or something close to that

Any idea what that is supposed to be or mean?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: GUEST,Furry
Date: 29 Sep 00 - 11:38 PM

frieght trains. the blinds are cars not designated for passengers. see John Hurts' version of "Casey Jones":
    "Casey said just before he died fix the blinds so that the bums can't ride if they ride let 'em ride the rods put there trust in the hands of God"
to hear the walkin blues done right go check out SON HOUSE later furry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 05:56 PM

also in jimmie rodgers' california blues


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: DonMeixner
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 06:03 PM

Casey Jones said just before he died
fix the blinds so that the bums can't ride
if they ride let 'em ride
Let em ride the rods
put their trust in fate
and the hands of God"

Is the way I learned iy many years ago.

D


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Mark Ross
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 07:25 PM

"The Blinds" were the so called "blind baggage". The front end of the baggage car up against the the coal tender. Nobody could through to the engine that way, so there was less of a chance of being discovered when you were stealing a ride on a passenger train.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Bobert
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 07:28 PM

The way I undewrstand it is the blinds were canvas curtains between passenger cars and folks would ask the "depot agent, please let me ride the blinds" or would sneak upon the trains and stand to the outside of these curtains...

B~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 09:22 PM

"Casey Jones said just before he died
fix the blinds so that the bums can't ride
if they ride let 'em ride
Let em ride the rods
put their trust in fate
and the hands of God"

But it wasn't "Casey Jones," it was Jay Gould's daughter!

Cheerily,
Charley "Black Diamond" Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Artful Codger
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 10:27 PM

My father, who rode the rails in his youth, told me the "blinds" to refer to the equivalent of running boards, which were replaced with round rods because the latter were more difficult for hobos to maintain a perch on.

In most versions of "Jay Gould's Daughter"/"Milwaukee Blues" I've seen, the daughter is urging her father to fix the blinds so the "'bos can ride", and her father refuses. This is contrary to the lore saying he did it because he couldn't refuse any request of hers, but it's unlikely she would have made such a heartless request, whereas Gould was known for his meanness and heavy-handed tactics. He is reputed to have said, "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half."

For what it's worth, he had two daughters. Why either of them would have said any such thing (soon) "before she died" remains a mystery, since presumably she'd have been addressing his grave. In later versions, the daughter disappears, and the request is delivered by the hobo protagonist instead.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 08:54 AM

AC-

I've also always envisioned "blinds" as some kind of supporting rack hung beneath the railroad carriages.

Evidently the stress of being Jay Gould's daughter also drove her to lead an alcoholic life, as implied in this verse:

Jay Gould's daughter said before she died.
"There's one more drink I'd like to try."
Jay Gould said, "Daughter, what might that be?"
"A glass of water or a cup of tea..."

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Amos
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 09:39 AM

Blinds - False door at end of baggage car. Hobo ridingplace. This definition appears in at least two nomenclature sites on hoboing.

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 08:31 AM

Thanks, Amos.

That makes sense.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 03:45 PM

From The Independent, Vol. 70, No. 3262 (New York: The Independent, June 8, 1911, page 1270:

The Lure of the Tramp (excerpt)
By Harry Kemp

[The author of this article knows what he is writing about, for he felt the lure of the tramp in the days before he wandered to the university, where he used to read and write poetry in fence corners and groves. Our readers have learned that he has the lyric temperament.—Editor.]

WITH the packing of trunks, the hurry and pother of definite travel, the tramp has naught to do. All the world lies before him, and he can go wherever he pleases. For him the check book is not necessary, and expenses need not be reckoned, lie needs only the call of budding things, the warmth of the sun, to lure him forth into the open horizons, the sun-washed air, the burgeoning woods and meadows. With his vagrant fancy as his only equipment, he needs no great trunk in which to pack his things. He need not spend several days over the attempt to get two trunkfuls into one. All his belongings he can generally carry on his back, as the hermit-crab carries its house, veranda and all. And he knows neither obligation nor duty.

His carfare does not enter into his reckoning. The railroads kindly provide him with empty box cars, "side door Pullmans," as he facetiously calls them. In them he rides in comparative safety, and with no destination in particular. Or if he seeks danger and excitement, instead of going in for mountain climbing, he may ride the blinds or tops of passenger trains speeding at from 40 to 60 miles an hour.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 03:57 PM

From Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures by Federal Writers' Project (Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1937), page 393:


Fay Hubbard's Dog

Soon after the Oregon Short Line Railway was laid, Hubbard went to Omaha with sheep, and after he had squandered all his money but five dollars he decided to buy a dog and ride the blinds back to his home. But the only thing he had ever ridden was a horse and he got by mistake on the observation platform, taking his hound with him, and was accosted by an angry conductor....

[There follows a tall tale about the dog trotting along behind the train, keeping up with it, passing it, and finally flagging it down.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 04:05 PM

From a letter to the editor in Life, Vol. 4, No. 26 (Chicago: Time, Inc., Jun 27, 1938), page 3:

Haven't they seen us riding the blinds and boxcars and thumbing on every highway; haven't they heard us knocking at their back doors begging for food; haven't they taken a thousand candid photos of us sleeping under bridges or eating from garbage cans?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 04:21 PM

From Down and Out, on the Road: The Homeless in American History by Kenneth L. Kusmer (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2002), page 144:

Contrary to the popular image of tramping, it was not always easy to find an open box car, day or night. A favorite alternative was riding the blinds—the space between the locomotive tender and the "blind" end of a baggage car (called such because the forward door of the car was locked) that was generally inaccessible to trainmen. As a precaution while riding the blinds or on top, some men attached themselves to a handrail with their trouser belt.

Finally, for the more adventurous, there was "riding the rods." Beneath each boxcar were two steel gunnels, about 18 inches below the floor and only a few inches above the tracks. The rider could lie against one rod and grasp the other, or lean against the battery box....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 08:34 PM

Jim-

I prefer to go HO gauge.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: GUEST,Mike Alti
Date: 12 Mar 11 - 11:39 PM

Riding the blinds might mean keeping out of sight, so you don't get kicked off the property. Sometimes the only good place to ride are the platforms on the front or back of certain freight cars because all the boxcars are locked. You can hide there to keep out of sight because of the way they are made. But if the weather is cold you will suffer. Hanging on to a ladder is not keeping out of sight. And you can wind up stuck there for two hundred miles of pouring rain. Also, bums don't ride freight trains. They only hide in the weeds in freight yards. Tramps only hide in freight yards long enough to hop a freight train.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Go ride the blind?'
From: GUEST,JimP
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 12:54 AM

Re: the line about trying two drinks, a glass of water and a cup of tea, I always took to mean that the Goulds were so wealthy that she had never tasted the most humble of drinks: water and tea.


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